We're delighted to introduce five guest editorial board members who will help us debate, discuss and decide on issues over the next four to six months.
The five are Joan Kane, David Wight, Nancy Darigo, John Staser and Rosa Meehan. They'll meet with us and contribute their expertise, experience and perspectives. You can also expect them to write from time to time.
Brief biographies and photos are below.
Four of us -- Pat Doyle, Pat Dougherty, Michael Carey and Frank Gerjevic -- chose these five from a stellar field of 80 applicants.
Once again, thanks to all of you who took the time to send thoughtful applications. You gave us a deep pool of high quality. If our gas line open seasons got the kind of response you gave this invitation, the majors would be laying pipe today.
That's why we went from two to four to five in the number of guest edit board members we chose.
We hope most of you who were not selected will apply again when we ask for applicants again -- and we hope some of you that we hadn't heard from before will write Compass pieces for us. If you do, you'll make the Daily News better.
Thanks also for your patience. This process took longer than we anticipated, in part because the response was bigger and better than we anticipated. That kind of problem is a blessing.
We think we have a good crew. Here they are:
Joan Kane is an Alaska Native with roots in King Island and Mary's Igloo. She attended Muldoon Elementary, Wendler Middle and Bartlett High schools in Anchorage and went on to graduate from Harvard and Columbia. She is a nationally recognized poet, winner of the Whiting and Donald Hall prizes for her collections "The Cormorant Hunter's Wife" and "Hyperboreal." She has a novel in the works. Married and the mother of two young boys, she also works with shareholders for the Sitnasusak Native Corporation.
She lives in Anchorage but is well-traveled in Alaska as both a poet and for Sitnasusak. Her return to Alaska and Anchorage from back East was no accident; this is both home and a place she finds "astonishing." She aims to contribute to the conversation about the place, it's people and politics.
David Wight, 72, is the former chief executive of Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. His 40-plus year career in the energy industry included major energy projects in the United States, Egypt and Trinidad; he chose Alaska as home before his career ended. His range of experience runs from negotiating international natural gas production and purchase deals to school crossing guard duty in Anchorage.
Wight's schooling included Columbia, Michigan, Harvard, Stanford, and an engineering degree from Texas Tech.. In Alaska, he's worked on boards and task forces serving the University of Alaska, United Way, The Nature Conservancy, Anchorage Park Foundation, Best Beginnings, Cook Inlet Soccer Club, Commonwealth North and Providence Alaska Medical Center.
Wide travel in Alaska and the rest of the world has given him an understanding of Alaska's perennial issues - conservation and development, education challenges and cultural differences. He brings a wealth of experience, a willingness to ask hard questions and willingness to listen.
Nancy Darigo, 54, is a geologist for URS Alaska, a violist with the Anchorage Symphony, rock band member and mother of three. She was raised in St. Louis, earned her degrees at Duke and the University of Southern California and came to Alaska in the 1990s.
Through her work she's been involved in environmental studies for the Donlin Creek gold mine, permitting for the trans-Alaska pipeline and the U.S. Forest Service's work on mine reclamation. That work and her interests have immersed her in resource development, the arts and education, giving her a wide perspective on Alaska life.
Darigo describes her baseline politics as slightly left of center, but mostly practical. "Being employed by resource extraction clients and long-married to an engineer with an MBA have shaped me as a pragmatic social liberal/fiscal conservative over the years."
She also said that "wrangling" her kids into responsible adulthood is her greatest accomplishment, and part of the reason for her joining the editorial board is to set an example for them -- contribute something beyond what you're paid to do.
John Staser is co-owner, with his wife, of Mountain View Sports in Adventure Apparel in Anchorage. He graduated from West High in 1975 and West Point in 1979, and after a nine-year military career joined his father-in-law's business.
An assignment with the Army Corps of Engineers gave him a grounding in wetlands issues, both with regard to oil companies on the North Slope and local development in Anchorage. His experience in both the private and public sectors have given him an understanding of how both work, their strengths and weaknesses.
Staser considers himself a conservative, but prefers NPR to talk radio. He is pro-development, but as an avid fly fisherman has concerns about projects like Pebble. He sells firearms and believes in the Second Amendment, but wants to find ways to keep guns out the hands of those who shouldn't have them. He is a businessman who doesn't want an intrusive government hand, but who also sees a role for government.
In short, he's a thoughtful realist who can see both sides of an issue, but can still make decisions. "I love nothing more than to discuss controversial subjects with people who have a different view than I do," he wrote.
Rosa Meehan is recently retired from more than 30 years with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service in Alaska, a career that gave her wide experience with all sides in some of the most controversial issues in Alaska - for example, the listing of the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act.
Her higher education includes degrees from UC-Santa Cruz, UAF, and the University of Colorado.
Meehan has worked with Alaska Natives, state and local agencies, oil companies and other interests; she knows the issues around wildlife management and resource development. She is "always amused by the characterization of "those 'out of touch Feds' that I think is often used as a way to evade a real analysis of the cost/benefits of proposed activities."
Meehan is a horse owner and outdoorswoman. "Overall, I enjoy all aspects of life in Alaska - from the beautiful environment to the quirky politics."